Attempts to halt or reverse the aging process (senescence) have been intense and multi-pronged, boosted by the inherent desire of man to ever remain young. The biosynthesis and activity of many hormones declines with age, including the human growth hormone (HGH), testosterone, dehydroepiandrosterone, and melatonin. Many prescription pills and over-the-counter (OTC) dietary supplements have been marketed.
Another group of drugs which is likely to gain importance are the "smart pills" or agents which improve the cognitive function in man, i.e., the faculty of thinking, understanding and reasoning. On their development the USA spends billions yearly. It is claimed that these "nootropics" (agents acting on the mind) improve age-related decline in human intelligence and memory. After the introduction of piracetam over 30 chemicals have been shown to have nootropic action. These include centrophenoxine, DHEA, choline/lecithin, hydergine, vasopressin, and oxiracetam. These agents are yet to be completely evaluated for their efficacy and safety.
The American biochemist Bruce Ames, and molecular biologist Juduth Campisi have made enlightening discoveries by linking oxidation, DNA mutation, and age. The role of antioxidants and anti-aging agents has been well documented. Anti-wrinkle agents like botulinum toxin (Botox) and many herbal preparations are being used to iron out the tell tale wrinkles.
In fact, man does not want to look and feel old ever. Specially the male's concern about sexual prowess is far more intense than the female's. Indeed, modern endocrinology had its crude beginnings with the announcement of 72 year old Prof. Brown-Sequard (1817-1894) , the great French physiologist and neurologist, that he had rejuvenated himself with injections of a saline-extract of dog's testicles. In quotes, "It is sufficient to state that everything I have not been able to do for several years on account of my advanced age, I am today able to perform admirably". Now we know that Brown-Sequard had the right idea but the wrong extract, as testosterone is not soluble in saline. His colleagues rejected the suggestion, and he had to admit that his rejuvenation must have been due to wishful thinking. This revelation happened just in time to save the dog population of Europe.
"Steroid Drugs" by Norman Appleweig, MCGraw-Hill, 1962, pp 242).